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Sat Oct 22 21:43:56 SAST 2016

Graft and greed take shine off Human Rights Day

The Times Editorial | 22 March, 2016 00:12

We celebrated Human Rights Day yesterday and most of the speeches delivered spoke of the road we have travelled.

Although we fully support efforts aimed at fostering a human-rights culture at all levels of society, we are sceptical about the sincerity of some of our leaders - who continue to violate the people's rights.

Corruption is the greatest threat to human rights because it robs people of their right to a better life.

We cannot celebrate human rights wholeheartedly while corruption continues to rob our people of resources.

The fight against racism and other forms of oppression must continue, but we should not for a minute be silent about corruption in the state and in business.

The democracy we continue to enjoy and speak of should come alive. It should benefit everyone, especially the marginalised.

We cannot speak of human rights when women and children, lesbians and gays, continue to face violence.

We cannot fully celebrate human rights when poverty and joblessness are the curse of the majority. Why should people be positive about tomorrow when all they see is the rich getting richer?

Failure to deal with inequality, poverty unemployment and all forms of racism will lead to polarisation.

The ruling ANC has a duty to look beyond cosseting its leaders and begin to craft a society centred on equality.

Leaders like President Jacob Zuma know that their actions have a pernicious effect on achieving the kind of society we want - but they don't care.

Their failure to appreciate the depth of the public anger caused by ever-rising corruption puts this nation on a dangerous path. Let us redefine what constitutes human rights in this country and agree on the route to take.

Corruption at all levels robs millions of their right to be full citizens of this nation.


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